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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  September 26, 2013 1:00am-1:31am PDT

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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib, brought to you by -- >> sailing through the heart of historic cities and a landscapes on a river, you get close to iconic land, to local life. viking river cruises, exploring the world in comfort. the power of walmart. >> a midday dive and the shares took down the dow and brought a host of other stocks down with it. why walmart matters so much, and why it may be the one stock you need to watch more than any other. the price is right. or is it. new information tonight on how much health insurance may cost you on those new exchanges. and stuck in a rut? manufacturing has been booming. but now some smaller shops they think may have peaked and that could be a troubling sign for job growth. we have all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for wednesday, september
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25th. good evening, and welcome. call it the walmart effect. if there was ever, ever any doubt about how much walmart matters to the economy, to the stock market, to suppliers and competitors, those doubts were put to rest today. walmart shares took abrupt 3% dive midday yanking the dow down with it after the press report said the company is cutting orders to suppliers amid sluggish sales and rising inventories. take a look at an intraday chart of walmart and zero in on that drop. right there, around 1:30 p.m. eastern time. as you see, the stock did recover about half of that loss after the company knocked the bloomberg article as, quote, misleading. a spokesman characterized any order pullbacks as category by category, not across the board. walmart did finish the day about 1.5% lower on two-and-a-half times normal volume. the episode served as a reminder
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when walmart sneezes others catch cold. names like costco, target, dollar general, dollar tree and family dollar and retrailers weren't the only ones feeling the chill. such walmart suppliers as proctor and glam bell, clorox, general mills, kellogg, all dipped right before 2:00 p.m. eastern time as you see on those graphs. those companies have a ton of products on walmart chefs. apparel makers like nike went for a walmart ride today. rpgs joining us, an equity analyst at mkm participanners. patrick, walmart says it's business as usual, but this report was misleading. but as an analyst covering walmart for almost 14 years, what's your take on this report today and what kind of shape is walmart really in? >> well, even if inventory -- even if the company was cutting back on some of its inventory
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purchases, it would not be a huge surprise. their inventories were up at walmart u.s., which is the core business, the u.s. business. 7% at the end of the second quarter. and they said on the august conference call that they would be pulling back and trying to get those inventories down. their sales grew at walmart u.s. only 2%. so 7% is high. they told the street they would be pulling back on inventories and rebalancing inventories. so not a huge surprise. i think it's a little bit of a much ado about nothing kind of a circumstance here. >> but cut to the bottom line here. is walmart -- is walmart signaling ever-so-subtly that the economy isn't as strong as maybe we thought, and that's why you see those reverberations through a pass of other stocks through clorox and procter & gamble to the other discounters? >> sure. i mean, i think that's probably true. but they've had a tough year so far. they've had negative same-store
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sales at walmart u.s. they are forecasting for flat same-store sales in the current quarter, third quarter. i think they'll maybe be light of that flat number. but, yeah, i think there's probably a little bit of that. but i think, you know, it's more of the same, really. i don't know that it's anything necessarily new. >> you know, patrick, i know you're not recommending walmart stock, but we -- as we reported, it has such an impact on other retailers, other consumer products companies. why should investors or do you think investors should really pay attention to what's going on with walmart, whether you own the stock or not? >> i mean, in general, absolutely. they're the biggest retailer in the world. 400-plus billion dollars in sales. so they're huge. and they matter. and sure, investors should pay attention to what walmart says and what's happening at walmart. but i would also points out that other -- there have been a
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number of other retailers that have been doing quite well. look at the off-price apparel retailers, tjx which is tj maxx and marshals, growing quite well over the past several quarters and had a nice second quarter, and up about 4% same-store sales growth. the dollar stores have been doing well. so there have been some pockets of strength. you know, walmart is not alone with its negative comps. target also had negative -- at least negative traffic in the second quarter. but i think there's some company-specific issues at walmart as well that are contributing to that. >> very quickly, in that space of discounters, the dollar stores, walmart, target and others, which one do you like best? >> well, i've been big on the dollar stores. five recommendations on all three. my top pick within that space has been dollar tree and i've been big on the off price apparel space, as well, recommending tjx for some time now. ross stores, which is the number two off price apparel retailer and i think the numbers in both
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of those subsectors of retail will continue to look pretty good. right on through the holidays. >> okay. any disclosures to make, patrick? do you own any of those stocks, your firm? >> no disclosure, susie. >> okay. thanks so much for coming on the program. patrick mckiefer equity analyst at mkm partners. weighing on the market, it's no wonder stocks did fall today. the s&p 500 notched its first five-day losing streak of the year and the dow its longest string of losses since a month or so ago. the dow swooning and then bouncing back with walmart ended 61 points lower, the nasdaq down 7 and the s&p shed 4. shares of jcpenney didn't need any help from walmart to plunge again today. it tumbled another 15%, following a dire analysis from goldman sachs about the retailer. it said, quote, a combination of weak fundamentals, inventory rebuilding and an underperforming home department will likely challenge jcpenney's
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liquidity levels in q3. they sold right from the opening bell today eventually closing at the lowest level in nearly 13 years. the goldman sachs report also speculated the retailer may be forced to tap into the debt markets just to get more operating cash. this halloween may be a bit scarier than expected for all retailers. survey from the national retail federation says americans plan on spending less money this year, blaming the weak recovery for that pullback. the group predicts that people celebrating halloween this year will spend an average of $75 on candy, costumes, decorations and the like. that's down from about $80 spent on average last year. well, jp morgue has been hit hard recently with lots of fines and settlement fees, but the latest is a big one. $11 billion. the associated press reports that the nation's biggest bank is in negotiations with federal and state officials to settle charges that it misled investors
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about the quality of the mortgage-backed securities that it sold in the run up to the financial crisis. and then when the housing bubble burst, those securities tumbled in value. but some much-needed good news today in housing. new home sales in august rose nearly 8% from the previous month, with potential buyers apparently rushing to close deals as mortgage rates inched higher. to washington now, and the race against the clock as the u.s. senate tries to hammer out a federal budget bill by monday, and avert a government shutdown. john harwood joins us from washington. so john, what happened in the senate today? >> we had something rare, tyler. a 100-0 vote in the senate. every single senator voted not to try to block the consideration by the senate of this bill to extend government funding. that bill in its current form would defund obamacare, and ted cruz had launched an overnight filibuster or a talk-a-thon, to try to persuade senators not to
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take it up. but by the end, it was so obvious that he was going to lose overwhelmingly that even he voted with the people who said, yes, take it up. and now there's talk about shortening the extended time frame by which we were going to consider this bill. it looks as if friday or perhaps early saturday the senate will pass a so-called clean extension of government funding with no other conditions, send it back to the house and then we'll find out whether the house is going to take it up and pass it and avoid a shutdown or try to attach another set of conditions and then we'll go through this again. >> everybody was talking about that talk-a-thon as you put it, 21 hours. did senator ted cruz really accomplish anything? >> well, there are a couple things. first of all, he raised his own profile for good or bad. a lot of people don't like him. a lot of conservative cans do like him. it's also possible and some democrats are expressing the idea to me that the extended discussion by republicans of obamacare, them seeing that this is not a viable strategy,
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certainly on the government shutdown bill, may hasten the time in which both the shutdown and the debt limit get settled. in other words, may serve as a bit of a shock absorber for some of the hostility and angst that conservatives want to express about obamacare without taking it over the brink on the debt limit. we'll see if that's borne out. but that, at least, is one possibility. >> what is the path forward from he, john, for avoiding a shutdown, and what's the likelihood that the hou will send another spending bill back to the senate with some condition that the senate is not likely to accept such as a delay in the individual mandate requiring coverage -- insurance coverage under obamacare? >> well, the earlier the house gets the bill back from the senate and since they're now talking to -- about senate passage on friday rather than sunday, the greater the chance is the house will come up with a strategy that involves sending another condition back. it could be a delay in the individual mandate, it could be something like a repeal of the
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medical device tax that's part of obamacare. part of the democrats' initial hope was if ted cruz talked through the weekend, the house wouldn't have any time and would be up against the september 30th deadline and would need to extend funding. so it's not entirely clear yet. we've got several votes to go and several days to go, but i think the smartest bet at this point, tyler is that it is not likely that we're going to have a shutdown. not certain, but it looks like we're not going to have that. >> let's just say there is a shutdown. what happens on day one? i mean, from years past, what happens? >> well, this is a different situation than we saw, susie, say in 1995 when newt gingrich and bill clinton had a standoff. in 1995, about half of the government had already had their spending bills passed. so that was in law already. it was only a half government shutdown. now none of the spending bills have passed, and what that means is, that a lot of public services will not be available, things like getting a visa done.
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those offices will be closed. national parks, monuments, that sort of thing. it's possible that you could see a delay in some social security checks, although the government shutdown terms do involve all allowing workers to continue on the job. but it's possible there will be all sorts of disruptions to government services. but the biggest effect, though, i think we have to say would be on federal workers themselves who would be without a paycheck. we're talking about 800,000 people or so. >> nothing really good to get excited about in that scenario. but thanks, john, for your analysis. really appreciate it. and that's john harwood reporting from washington. and also, speaking about the government, just six days to go before state and federal health care exchanges open their doors, offering a marketplace of health insurance plans to all americans. it's all part of the affordable care act. and today the obama administration released the prices for individual insurance plans. bertha coom joins us with a rundown of the premiums,
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copayments, deductibles, options, everything that people are going to face. you know, bertha, we have been talking a long time. you have been covering this story for a long time about what are the prices going to be for these insurance plans. today we got a peek into what the prices are going to be. are they higher or lower than what everybody was expecting? >> well, a little lower. we have heard from some of the states that have built their own exchanges. they have revealed some of the prices and in many cases they're lower. now the federal government today in a new report from health department analysts found that premiums will be lower than they had previously estimated on the three dozen health insurance exchanges at the federal government fully or partly operating. because those states opted out of building their own marketplaces. so on average, they have discovered americans will be able to choose from more than half a dozen insurance plans on these exchanges. and that's part of the thing that is driving these costs down. more competition. they'll have more than 50 plans to choose from. and these plans will be price -- this is what you're going to
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hear a lot about. on metals bases, bronze, silver, gold. silver, $328 a month, that's before tax credits for low and moderate-income people which will reduce costs. it's going to vary on where you live. but let's take a family of four in texas with $50,000 in annual income. for example. they will have a silver plan that will average about $727 a month. now, with the tax credit that they would qualify for, that premium would be cut by about 60% to $280 a month. and interestingly, i went on e health to see what you would get in the individual market now to get a plan like that for $280, you get a plan with about a $10,000 deductible and it's going to be much less than that on the exchange. now, take an individual, the young people who they really want, 27-year-old, now you can no longer be covered on your
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parents' plan. in florida, earning about $25,000 a month, would also qualify, and a silver plan will average $218 for that 27-year-old. before the tax credit. after the tax credit, about $145 a month. and that would be lower. the interesting thing is, you don't have to buy a silver plan. you could buy a bronze plan that's cheaper. but your tax credit is based on the silver plan. so it would actually bring you even lower on a bronze plan which could come down for that 7-year-old. >> we know when people sit down and do the math, the main reason that a lot of americans do not buy health insurance, because they just feel like it's too expensive, they can't afford it, even though these numbers sound good. >> exactly. >> at $328, the average, is that affordable enough? >> that's 328 before the tax credit. so it might be below $300. and it is affordable by comparison to what someone is paying now on the individual market. so when you look at someone who
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is already trying to buy insurance, that seems much more affordable. but everyone you talk to says, this is a very price-sensitive market. so if you're making $50,000 a month, that's still a lot of money to come up with $300 a month. >> right. >> if you've got all these other expenses. and they need young people to sign up to make sure that we don't just have older sick people in the insurance pool. >> a couple quick questions in rapid succession. number one, are the tax credits applied after i have she would out out of pocket owl that money, or before? >> you can choose. you can choose to take them before, or you can choose to take them later, get them later when you file for your taxes. if you're on the edge, so for a family of four, your subsidies run out at around $94,000, if you're on the edge, you're probably going to want to wait so you don't get clawed back on what you took beforehand. >> but if you have a problem with cash flow, you're going to want that tax subsidy up front so you can actually do it. >> exactly. >> question number two, the
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plans on these exchanges are private insurers, right? >> private insurers, yeah. private insurers that are competing on these exchanges for your business. >> and what kind of coverage do you get, limited? >> that depends, depending on the level. remember we talked about the metal level. so silver is a kind of 60% of the cost. >> they pay 60% of your medical costs. >> right. so you have some out of pocket. maximum out of pocket is about $6200 for a deductible. on a bronze plan, it's going to be more out of pocket. so you might pay a lower premium, but you're probably going to get a more limited network of coverage. and you're probably going to have more out of pocket. >> real quickly. you're required -- every american is required to have some kind of insurance plan. if you don't, there is a fine. really? are you going to be fined if you opt out? >> you know, i think this first year -- and this is just my impression. this first year, from talking to people, they just want people to sign up at all costs, so they don't want to be punitive. they don't want to be talking about this -- >> $95 fine. >> exactly, as little as $95.
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>> bertha, thank you very much. we'll be back to you on this. coming up, a billion than dollar deal in the medical devices space. details next. but first, take a look at the international market. amazon.com unveils a revamped kindle tablet today hoping to get a leg up on microsoft ahead of the holiday shopping season. john fort sat down with amazon ceo today to tack about his company's latest offering and the innovation behind it. >> yeah, first thing you'll notice is our carousel. >> it starts at $139 and analysts estimate it represents about 1 in 10 tablets sold. for the past two years, amazon's
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kindle fire has challenged ipad in the white hot tablet market. i talked about how the latest models are taking it to another level in features and service. >> and so for people who really want the very best hardware, that's the right tablet to buy. 8.9 inch form factor is very useful for doing a whole bunch of things like browsing the web and e-mail. and, of course, movies and tv shows look great on it. and then we have for people who are, you know, buying tablet for the family, who are you know, $138 kindle fire hd has a same processing power that our high-end had last year, and the same display quality that our high-end had last year. and so at $139, it's a real -- breakthrough price point. >> how can i help you? >> the standout feature in the new kindles, the may day button, which summons tech support, live on the screen. >> best-case scenario for amazon, they develop an aura of great support. amazon is known for that already. but on the tablet side, if they
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could lock that in, it could really expand their business to a whole different demographic. >> he said ideas like that don't come from just one person. they come while hashing out the future with a team. his style, get lots of input. >> sometimes i think there is a myth of the top-down leader who is, you know, inventing and the sort of what we all have in our minds when we think of thomas edison. and that's not how large-scale innovation works in a company, in my experience. it really is the great strategies, the great product visions, even the great features that kind of emerge, and then somebody has an idea and somebody else has a refinement to that idea. >> he is clearly hoping these new kindless go down as a success. preorders start today with the models all shipping by november 7. of course, new surface tablets
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from crosstown rival microsoft arrive in less than a month, and we expect new ipads from apple. these new kindles will have plenty of competition. in seattle, i'm john fort for "nightly business report." we begin market focus with a $1.6 billion deal. the medical technology company, striker is buying mako surgical, which makes a robotic arm to help surgeons more precisely replace knees and hips. it will give a strong competitive advantage and trigger a wave of takeovers. shares soaring 82% to close at $29.46. striker, by contrast, fell about 3% to $68.79. auto zone, the world's largest auto parts retailer in the u.s., reported a rise in earnings as the company's commercial sales continue to improve. the firm has been benefitting from the addition of new stores and plans to enter the brazilian market, the fourth largest car market in the world. the stock rising more than 2% to
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$425 and change. shares of facebook also rising today, after initiating coverage of the company with a bye rating and $60 price target. the analyst says the company is very early in generating revenue from its enormous user base. shares more than doubled over the past three months and today rose to $49.46 and infinity pharmaceutical said its experimental lung cancer drug failed to improve overall survival in a mid stage trial. so the company will now focus on a drug meant to treat a rare blood cancer, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. shares fell to $17.32. and we have more ahead. first, though, how commodities, treasuries and currencies performed today.
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last week's terrorist attack in kenya focused on the availability of public spaces like shopping malls and sports arenas from similar attacks. scott cohn joins us from chicago where thousands are security personnel are gathered to discuss the latest techniques to make an unsuspecting public more secure. scott, what is the buzz, the tenor of the conversation that you've been listening to and seeing out there? >> reporter: well, tyler, the terror attacks in nairobi have certainly focused attention on what security professionals call soft targets. things like shopping malls. there's a big one right behind me here in chicago's michigan avenue, where you can come and go as you please.
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there are multiple entry points. they're the kinds of places that give security a professional's fit in terms of how to protect them. but there are a few things they feel they're doing right. one is that there's a great deal of coordination now between mall security people and the department of homeland security, law enforcement, to try and spot these threats, spot the bad guys, essentially, before they go into the mall. and to hopefully prevent some of these attacks like what happened in nairobi. >> so what does it mean for those of us who go shopping in these places like a mall? are you supposed to be on high alert? it's one thing to have these security measures in your workplace. but you kind of are distracted when you're shopping in a mall. what's the advice from these security specialists? >> well, what they're saying is, that you know, they're doing everything that they can. there is technology that can help them spot, you know,
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anomalous patterns and things like that. but they also say, and basically everyone we talked to at this conference said that it -- determined attacker is going to do the damage they're going to do. and so that means, when you go to your shopping mall, you need to be aware of the situation around you. have a plan in case the worst happens. have a plan to get out, know what you would do. gain the scenario in your mind. and that is something that ultimately could save your life. and also, as they say, and as they have said certainly since 9/11, if you see something, say something. >> all right, scott cohn, reporting for us tonight from a big security conference in chicago. scott, thanks very much. just got to be alert everywhere you go. >> it's amazing it's come to that. you have to think about your escape route whenever you go into a mall or sports event. >> that's it for us, "nightly business report" tonight, i'm susie gharib. thanks for joining us. >> have a great evening, everybody. we'll see you back here tomorrow night.
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